Saturday, June 15, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Six workers die in Old Dhaka fire

As many as 10 firefighting units brought the fire under control around 2:30pm

Update : 15 Aug 2022, 11:54 PM

A total of six people died in a fire that broke out at a plastic factory in Old Dhaka’s Chawkbazar area on Monday.

Firefighters recovered the six charred bodies after the blaze was tamed in the afternoon and sent them Mitford Hospital for autopsy.

According to fire service officials and eyewitnesses, the fire began at the factory in Kamalbagh area under Lalbagh police station around 12 noon. Ten firefighting units brought the blaze under control at 2:20pm.

What fire service officials say

Bazlur Rashid, deputy assistant director at the Dhaka Central Fire Service unit, said the six bodies were recovered from the second floor.

The cause of the blaze will be determined after it is investigated by an inquiry committee, he added.

Five of the deceased were identified as Rubel Hilal, Abdul Wahab Osman, 25, Billal Sordaer, 35, Shopon, 22 Mutaleb 30, and Sharif, 20. The other victim was yet to be identified.

All six victims were workers at a hotel located right below the factory.

An inspector said the factory owner refused to allow him to enter earlier in the day.

What eyewitnesses say

Eyewitnesses Rasel and Rashedul said they were eating food inside the hotel at 11:40am. At one point, they noticed smoke and flames quickly spread throughout the hotel and engulfed the entire building in five or six minutes.

Three staff members, including the hotel manager, were on duty. About six or seven other workers were sleeping on the upper floor.

“We could not enter the rooms to rescue the other workers as the door was locked from inside. We tried to wake them, but failed,” said Rasel.

Who is the building owner?

A shop owner, asking for anonymity, said there were illegal electricity and gas connections at the hotel and other surrounding buildings.

He added that Md Rana, son of the late Md Alam, was one of the owners of the building. The family has multiple businesses, including plastic, toy, and shoe factories.

The shop owner also claimed Rana was the younger brother of Md Zahangir, general secretary of Chawkbazar ward 65.

Dhaka district DC Md Shahidul Islam told Dhaka Tribune there no evidence of third-party involvement in the fire had been found yet.

A fire broke out at a plastic factory in Dhaka on Monday, August 15, 2022  Fire Media Cell

Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Lalbagh police Zafar Hossain said: “The houses and hotels were built in the area without regard to rules. These hotels and factories have been built illegally.”

What the families of the deceased say

Sharif, 15, began working at the hotel for Tk200 per day after Eid-ul-Azha. He hailed from Chandina in Comilla.

His relative Nasrin Akter said: “We had not spoken with him for two weeks. He was supposed to visit home in a few days, but now we have to carry back his body.”

They blamed Hotel Owner Fokoruddin for failing to ensure Sharif’s safety.

Al Amin, younger brother of deceased Billal Sardar, said: "We spoke with him last night. He went to sleep at 8am due to the night shift.”

He added that he was still unsure what to tell his brother’s wife and children.

The family members demanded justice and compensation for their losses.

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